Perhaps the most historic anniversary in modern Greek history, November 17 is remembered as the day when military tanks burst through the gate of the Athens Polytechnic University while student protests against the military dictatorship had reached their peak.
The uprising initially began on November 14, 1973 and quickly escalated to an open anti-junta revolt, ending in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17 after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the university gates.
Since April 21, 1967, Greece had been under the dictatorial rule of the military, a regime which abolished civil rights, dissolved political parties and exiled, imprisoned and tortured politicians and citizens based on their political beliefs.
Two dozen people were killed during the violence between military forces and protestors that night.
These events would lead to the eventual overthrow of the dictatorship in Greece and the restoration of democracy.
A march of remembrance takes place every year to the United States Embassy in Athens.
The U.S. supported the military dictatorship and turned a blind eye to much of the anti-democratic activity of Greece’s leaders. Vice President Spiro Agnew went as far as praising the junta as “the best thing to happen to Greece since Pericles ruled in ancient Athens.”
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